Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather, a play about the West Auckland football team who won the first world cup in 1909, is to transfer to Newcastle Theatre Royal in May – in the build up to the 2010 World Cup.
The show, written by Tyneside-based playwrights Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood, celebrates the greatest football story ever told and relates how a team of miners from West Auckland in County Durham were invited to compete in the Lipton Trophy in Italy against the top teams from Germany, Switzerland and Italy, who were all professional
“West” beat German champions Stuttgart Sportfreunde 2-0 in the semi-finals before seeing off the Swiss champs FC Winterthur 2-0 in the final.
The lads also returned in 1911 and won the cup outright after hammering the mighty Juventus 6-1.
The play, which was commissioned by Durham Gala theatre manager Simon Stallworthy to mark the centenary of the 1909 achievement, premiered at the Gala in April (2009) and was a huge success. Around 4,500 people attended and by the end of the 10-show run, it was playing to full houses at the 500-seat venue.
Ed and Trevor have also had their plays Dirty Dusting and Waiting For Gateaux performed at the Theatre Royal to sell-out crowds and they are expecting the same excellent response their other two plays have garnered.
Trevor said: “We are absolutely delighted. This is a brilliant story about the lads and their families who sacrificed so much to get to Italy. They had to pawn their valuables and didn’t even know whether they had jobs to return to.”
West Auckland were a team of Durham miners playing in the Northern League when they were invited by the Glasgow-born tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton to participate in the inaugural world cup in Turin, Italy.
West subsequently kept the cup but it was stolen in 1994 and a replica today takes its place in the West Auckland Working Men’s Club. People come from all over the world to pay respect to the achievement of these battling miners.
TREVOR WOOD & ED WAUGH
“Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood are rapidly establishing themselves as one of the most commercially marketable brands in British Theatre” –
The Metro, January 11, 2005
Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood began writing their first comedy play Good To Firm in January 2002. Astonishingly, thanks to theatre director Ray Spencer’s excellent judgement, it premiered at the Customs House in South Shields five months later. Billed, in a typically understated way, as the ‘funniest play ever about horse racing’ it was an immediate hit and, by the end of the run, was playing to full houses in the 400-seat theatre.
Their next play, Dirty Dusting premiered at the Customs House in February 2003. The tale of three elderly cleaning ladies who set up a telephone sex chat line was, and is, a phenomenon. It sold out all seven shows and returned six months later for a further nine sell-out shows. The late Peter Sarah saw the show and decided to bring it to the Theatre Royal in Newcastle for four more sell-out performances. It returned to the Theatre Royal again in June 2004 for seven sell-out shows. Subsequently the play has toured Scotland three times and completed an Irish/UK tour of no. 1 theatres in July 2006, including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Dublin, where it played to more than 20,000 people during a four-week run at the prestigious Gaiety Theatre. It recently completed a run at Dunedin’s Fortune Theatre a short tour of Victoria, Australia and a further tour of Ireland. A full Australian tour is scheduled for 2010.
Ed and Trevor followed up this success with their third play, Raising The Stakes, a sequel to Good To Firm, which premiered to full houses and massive critical acclaim at the Customs House in March 2004.
Their next play, Waiting For Gateaux followed in the footsteps of Dirty Dusting. A hilarious tale of the worst health and fitness club in the world, it sold out all 2,000 tickets ten weeks before its opening night in April 2005 and, due to overwhelming demand, returned to the same venue in August 2005 for a longer run. ‘Gateaux’ had its New Zealand premiere e in Dunedin in July 2006 where it played for three weeks before going on a short tour of the South Island. A short UK tour followed and a further tour is planned for 2010.
Their fifth play, The Revengers, premiered at the Customs House in September 2005 to widespread critical acclaim and recently played the Pomegranate Theatre in Chesterfield.
Their sixth play, Maggie’s End, which begins with the death of Margaret Thatcher, marked a departure for the pair. An overtly political piece of agitprop, raging against the New Labour project, the play premiered at the Gala Theatre in Durham in October 2007 and went on to form the centrepiece of the 25th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike when it was performed at the Shaw Theatre in London in March 2009.
The prolific pair returned to comedy with play number seven, Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather, which written to mark the 100th anniversary of West Auckland FC winning the Lipton Trophy, the first ever World Cup. The play premiered at Durham in March 2009.
The third play in their racing trilogy, provisionally entitled Photo Finish is due to open at the Customs House in October 2010 and another new play, God Only Knows, which examines the teaching of creationism in state schools is also due to hit the stage that year.
Their radio play, Son of Samurai, adapted for the stage, was performed at the prestigious Latitude Festival in 2008, standing alongside productions from the RSC, Bush Theatre and the Royal Court.
In addition to their work for the theatre they have just been commissioned by BBC 1 to write a second sample episode of their sitcom, Silver Acres. They also have three films in development, Dead Ringer for Love, Hark The Herald Angel and Maggie’s End, an adaption of their own stage play, all with Ipso Facto films.
Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 May 2010